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Attorney David S. Steingold Files Complaint for Woman Who Committed Suicide in Jail

Attorney David S. Steingold

Attorney David S. Steingold, of The Steingold & Dwyer Law Group, and civil rights attorney Cary McGehee recently filed a complaint (Case No. 2:2017-cv-10528 filed in the United States District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division) against the Michigan Department of Corrections (defendant) on behalf of a personal representative (plaintiff) for the estate of Janika Nicole Edmond (deceased). According to court documents, Edmond had an extensive history of self-injurious behavior, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts while incarcerated at the Women’s Huron Valley (WHV) correctional facility.

Court documents allege that despite the prison’s knowledge of Edmond’s high risk, they failed to adequately address the risk or take steps to provide adequate treatment, thus increasing the likelihood of continuing suicide attempts. Court documents further state that when Edmond was told she could not have visits because she was going to segregation, she was distraught and allegedly voiced an intention to commit suicide.    

According to court documents, a guard assigned to watch Edmond, upon hearing her suggestion of suicide, immediately commented that “Somebody owes me lunch,” and left the area for 19 minutes, allegedly to collect on a “bet” made with another guard of whether Edmond would declare a suicidal thought. (Video and audio at the facility not only verify this comment but also show the guard leaving the area and going downstairs to order a sandwich.) During the 19 minutes the guard was absent, according to court documents, Edmond, who was left alone and was supposed to have been placed in a suicide vest, hung herself with her undergarments.

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